“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters — yes, even their own life — such a person cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple … In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be My disciples.” — Luke 14:26-27,33
The way God calls us to live our lives will look different from how the world or our culture wants us to live. It may even look different from how our family and friends want us to live, but we are to be steadfast to the Lord alone.
In Luke 9, Jesus calls a man who wants to follow Him, but the man asks the Lord if he can first go and bury his father. Jesus tells him clearly that his mission requires him to obey the call of Jesus immediately. The Kingdom of God is moving, with or without us. We have the option to live in obedience to Christ and be a part of that mission or not.
I remember the first time I was offered a baseball contract. I was just about to go into my senior year of college when I was drafted by the Reds. I knew the offer that was in front of me offered more money if I signed at that time than if I waited until after I finished school, but I also knew God was calling me in a different direction at that time. In fact, I asked God for a clear sign from Him if I wasn’t supposed to sign with the Reds.
I didn’t have to wait 24 hours before God made it very clear to me that I was to wait. It wasn’t the answer I wanted, but I chose to be obedient to Him. Even when I couldn’t understand why at the time, I trusted He had a better plan. And He did. So much good came out of that situation. God provided abundantly more than I ever could have imagined when I chose to let go and trust Him. I knew that His plan would be more fruitful than what I could immediately see at the time. That one decision, which seemed like such a huge sacrifice at the time, ended up being the biggest blessing.
We can live for immediate gratification, or we can choose to wait on God, making the sacrifices He calls us to make, knowing that we will be receiving an eternal glory far beyond what we could imagine in this life. The world around us tempts us to want to try to control things. But if we believe in what we cannot see, instead of living for what’s right in front of us, we get to experience the miracles of God.
In baseball, I don’t know what the result of any one of my pitches will be. I aim at the glove every time, and one pitch may result in a strikeout while the same pitch may result in a batter hitting the ball 400 feet behind me. I can’t fully control the outcome, but I can control my pitch, and I’m going to give it all I’ve got every time.
In the same way, I’m going to give all I have to the will of God no matter what the outcome might be for me personally. I don’t care what my friends, family or teammates might think of me. I may lose some relationships, but I also might gain some. And if one person is influenced for the Kingdom of God because of a choice I made to be faithful to God, it’s worth whatever the sacrifice may be.
Each of us is called to deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Him. What might this look like in your life? I know what I’m called to, and I know the promises God has for me. Because of that, I choose to be faithful and believe in what isn’t seen.
— Matthew Boyd, Detroit Tigers pitcher
Matthew Boyd is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing articles and opinions. Check out Matthew’s Increase profile here.
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